This story is both thought-provoking and highly entertaining. After almost 50 years, it is still an amazingly visionary piece. Although some reviews didn't like the narration, I thought it was perfect. It sounded to me exactly like a Soldier relating his tale.
This is a magnificent and entertaining audio program that truly makes a serious and complicated play accessible to anyone. My family listened to the play with commentary version of this program in preparation for seeing the play performed, and we all felt it made a world of difference in our appreciation of both the performance and the play. Strongly recommend!
"Have a Little Faith" is two inspiring, true stories – one about a rabbi who spends his whole life at one synagogue in New Jersey and the other about a Christian pastor in the poorest part of Detroit who is a reformed NYC drug user and dealer. Central messages include: God is bigger than any single religion; mercy, compassion, and acts of love are universal ways to worship God; addictions are especially difficult to overcome and can cause tremendous damage to one’s life; sing more when talking to people; value positive legacies; be optimistic – have a little faith.
Favorites quotes from the book (possibly paraphrased):
“Everyone is a person of God.”
“You are not your past.”
“Picture the holiest person you know…and now picture them wearing ragged clothes hiding behind some trash cans holding a shotgun and begging God not to send them to Hell.”
In two weeks, I listened to all three Hunger Games books. They are creative, entertaining, thought-provoking, and obviously addictive. I thought the first two were especially exceptional. Based on the concept and violence involved, they may not be appropriate for pre-teens.
"Jesus, Interrupted" by Bart Ehrman is a well written and well organized analysis of The New Testament using historical (biblical scholarship) techniques. I think the first half of the book, where Ehrman points out significant issues and differences between the various books of The New Testament, is much better than the second half where, in my mind, he presents many historical anecdotes as he strongly hypothesizes about how the early Christian church developed and how that development impacted the Bible. If you are a Christian who has not encountered biblical scholarship before, many of the ideas in this book would be very startling to you.
Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey is written for those of us who have sometimes struggled with institutionalized religion. I thought it would be a lot of commiserating about the challenges of being part of a Christian church, but instead Yancey chose to write chapters about the 13 people who most inspired him and helped him see what a real religious life looks like. People covered in these mini-biographies include Martin Luther King, Jr., Annie Dillard, Feodor Dostoevsky, Mahatma Gandhi, John Donne, and Shusaku Endo. Strongly recommend it!
Despite some of the data issues and poor statements of the past year, I continue to believe that climate change is occurring and is caused by man. I think erratic weather (especially weather extremes) is a symptom/result. Although I am not personally a huge fan of Al Gore, this book does a very nice job of exploring and analyzing numerous potential solutions. It assumes climate change is occurring. Strongly recommend it.
One of the best novels I have read. Deeply moving and thought provoking, it is a gut wrenching story of tragedy, injustice, and redemption.
"The Prodigal God" is a very short book that examines the Christian parable of the Prodigal Son. It makes some insightful points about how the true target of the parable may have been those people represented by the elder son, and it is especially thought-provoking as it discusses how the elder son, who tried very hard to live a correct and righteous life, is the son who ended up alienated from the Father at the end of the parable.
"Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster is a thought-provoking and challenging book about Christian spiritual disciplines. These disciplines include meditation, prayer, fasting, study, simplicity, solitude, submission, service, confession, worship, guidance, and celebration. Although I am not able to meet many of the principles and suggested techniques in the book, I think it does a wonderful job of advocating that a religious life should have many more facets and attributes than simply prayer, attending a service, and reading scripture.
"Younger Next Year" is an intriguing book that gives advice on how to maintain maximum health during the ages of 50 to 80. Bottom line: work out very hard six days a week including lifting weights, stop eating junk, be emotionally committed to somebody and some cause/goal. The book describes how decay is a natural state in old age and advocates the previous tasks to prevent your body from believing that it is alright to decay. This version of the book was written by men for men. Two out of the four male friends I have who read it loved it and the other two found the tone, writing style, or theory to be frustrating. There is also a version of the book for women, and I have no idea whether it is any good (although I would think many of the basic principles would still apply).
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